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PERSONA

Director: INGMAR BERGMAN

SWEDEN • 1966 • SUBTITLED • BLACK AND WHITE • 81 MIN


THIS EXTRAORDINARY FILM RE-ESTABLISHED BERGMAN’S REPUTATION IN THE SIXTIES AND INAUGURATED ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING PHASES IN HIS LONG CAREER.
Abandoning the niceties of a traditional narrative, Bergman here adopts a highly poetic yet visceral approach as he explores the very essence of human identity in the modern world. A famous stage actress, Elisabeth Vogler (Liv Ullmann), is seemingly stricken with psychosomatic loss of speech, having dried up in the middle of a performance of Electra. She’s placed in the care of Nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson) and the pair retreat to a remote seaside cottage. Alone with each other, the women appear to exchange identities. The sense of psychological breakdown is communicated directly to the audience, both in the superlative performances and through Bergman’s groundbreaking formal devices, which include a depiction of the film itself breaking down as it speeds through a projector. With Persona, the female face in close-up became Bergman’s preferred method for communicating the spiritual anguish from which his characters suffer.

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